JEWISH STUDIES COURSE LIST – SPRING 2017 

JDS 103LEC   Introduction to Judaism –  Noam Pines

T/TH 11:00am–12:20pm – Natural Science Complex 205

Survey of Judaism and the rich Jewish legacy: basic philosophical, theological, social, and political values and practices of Judaism as they developed over time in a variety of social and political environments.

 

JDS 150LEC   Cultures in Rebellion and Avant-Garde Innovation –  Noam Pines

M/W 12:00pm-1:50pm – Natural Science Complex 125

Beginning in the late 19th Century, a new cultural movement was born: the avant-garde. This course seeks to understand how and why art and literature that deliberately challenged popular understanding came to be dominant.  This course will introduce you to the main currents of 19th  and 20th Century avant-garde history, theory, and aesthetic practice. Grounding our approach in the specific geographic and historical conditions that gave rise to these individual movements, we will explore their expression through a wide variety of mediums including art and visual culture, literature, poetry, music, and film. We will read both primary and secondary documents as we grapple with these movements’ modernist and revolutionary agendas in order to assess their successes and failures and evaluate their impacts and legacies.

 

JDS 199SEM, UB Seminar, Origins of Good and Evil – Alexander Green

T/TH 9:30am–10:50pm – Clemens 708

Determining the origin of our moral beliefs and values is one of the central debates that has animated Western philosophers and theologians across time. One culture may consider a certain action morally correct and another culture may consider the same action morally incorrect. Why is that? How do we know what is good and evil, right and wrong? Is there one standard that unites different value systems or are all systems equally correct and variable? This course will not directly tackle the specific beliefs themselves (whether it be the ethics of war and peace, euthanasia, suicide, abortion or any such issue), but will seek to examine the different reasons that groups may arrive at diverse answers. We will read selections of classical works such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Hebrew Bible, Aquinas¿ Summa Theologicae, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, Martin Buber’s I and Thou, and view a movie: Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors.

 

RSP 213LEC, World Religions – Marla Segol

M/W/F 9:00am-9:50am, Knox 109

Introduces the world’s religious systems and their cultural bases, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, and modern religious substitutes.

 

JDS 229LEC/HIS 229LEC/RSP 229LEC, Medieval Judaism

Alexander Green -T/TH 2:00pm-3:20pm – Clemens 708

“Medieval Judaism” is an exploration of Judaism as a minority religion living between the Crescent and Cross, the Islamic and Christian empires between the 9th to 16th centuries.  We will explore the dual nature of the medieval period for Jews: part intellectual and cultural flourishing and part persecution and tragedy. Topics to be discussed include: the origins of anti-Semitism, the crusades, philosophy vs. mysticism, the Maimonidean controversy, Jewish-Christian dialogue and polemics, the inquisitions, marranos and the responses to tragedy.

 

JDS 237LEC/HIS 237LEC/RSP 237LEC, History of Israel and Zionism- Daniel Kotzin -TH 6:00pm-8:40pm – Clemens Hall 708

This course will examine the development of the Zionist idea from its ancient and rabbinic origins to its modern political implementation. A particular area of focus will be on the modern Zionist movement, the variety of perspectives on Zionism within the movement, their conflicting visions, and the various ways in which Zionists sought to approach the Arab population. The history of Israeli politics, culture, and society since 1948 will also be a central element of the course.

 

JDS 284SEM, Justice In Bibles, Law and Philosophy – Sergey Dolgolpolski

T/TH 11:00am-12:20pm – Natural Sciences Complex 215

A comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.

 

JDS 286LEC/RSP 286LEC, Prayer and Altered States- Marla Segol

M/W/F 1:00pm-1:50pm – Clemens 708

What is prayer and how does it work? How is it related to meditation and song? This course explores the phenomenology of prayer, meditation and religious music, their ritual function, and their effects on the brain, on personality, and community. We focus on Jewish sources, placing them in historical context and comparing them to those of other religions such as Hinduism and Christianity.

 

JDS 306LEC/APY 393LEC, Anthropology of Religion- Phillips Stevens

M/W/F 1:00pm-1:50pm – Baldy 108

Religion has existed in all cultures of the world, and at all stages of recorded history indeed, it seems as old as humanity; and it is an extremely powerful motivator of behavior.  For these reasons alone its study is essential to anthropology.  This course considers religion as a dynamic system which can’t be fully understood without reference to its interrelationships with other cultural systems, as well as to the biology of the human practitioner. Specific topics include: the nature of belief and the concept of “supernatural”; types of supernatural agencies; types of religious practitioners; theories of religion; myth; ritual; divination; sacrifice; totemism; taboo; magic and sorcery; witchcraft; shamanism; religious altered states of consciousness: spirit possession, ecstasy, and simple trance; supernaturally-caused illness and religious-based healing; religion in cultural change; new religions, cults, and the occult today; and others. The course will be illustrated throughout with films, slides, videos, religious objects, etc.

 

JDS 402LEC/LAW 761LEC/COL 702COL, Jewish Law in Development

SERGEY DOLGOPOLSKI – location TBA

Historical, sociological, and legal concerns in early and later rabbinic literature; how Jewish life and thought relate to trends in legal interpretation through the centuries.

 

HEBREW COURSE LIST – SPRING 2017

HEB 102LEC, Elementary Modern Hebrew 2 – Lillia Dolgopolskaia

M/W/F 9:00am-10:25am – Clemens Hall 708

The continuation of Hebrew 101. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 

HEB 202LEC, Intermediate Hebrew 2 – Lillia Dolgopolskaia

M/W 9:00am-10:25am – Clemens Hall 708

A continuation of Hebrew 201. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST – FALL 2016

JDS 103LEC   Introduction to Judaism –  Sergey Dolgolpolski

T/TH 3:30pm–4:50pm – Fillmore 322

Survey of Judaism and the rich Jewish legacy: basic philosophical, theological, social, and political values and practices of Judaism as they developed over time in a variety of social and political environments.

 

JDS 199SEM, Modern Revolutions UB Seminar – Richard Cohen

T/TH 2:00pm–3:20pm – Clemens 708

Hardly any other events in modern human history have contributed more greatly to the transformation of humanity in its economic, social and political life than the industrial revolution (steam engine, railroad, factory line), the spread of democracy (American and French revolutions) and the spread of socialism (Russian and Chinese revolutions).  Revolutions opened prospects such as the universal spread of democracy, the liberal transformation of religion, the growth of a worldwide metropolitan culture, and the prospect of general prosperity.  Seeking to better understand these opportunities by examining their beginnings, we will explore the old and the new in the prose and poetry of Kant, Feuerbach, Marx and Engels, Dostoevsky,  Darwin, Nietzsche, and others.

 

JDS 199SEM, Justice  UB Seminar – Sergey Dolgolpolski

T/TH 11:00am-12:20pm – 708 Clemens Hall

“A law that is not just is not law” said recently a protester against racial discrimination. This argument exemplifies a problem we will address in this course through reading, discussing, theatrically staging, and critically applying the work of the best writers and thinkers, both ancient and contemporary, who addressed the problem of justice in relationship to equality, law, and freedom. In that way, we will conduct a comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.         

 

JDS 199SEM, Human & Animal  UB Seminar   –  Noam Pines

T/TH 11:00am-12:20pm – Fillmore 328

The course will examine various depictions of human-animal relationship in Western literature and culture, from classical times to modern times. By looking at these texts, we will chart the emergence of a figure that occupies a borderline state between human and animal, and explore its implications for our understanding of Jewish and Christian relationships as well as human and animal nature. Readings include: Ovid, Marie de France, Hobbes, Shakespeare, Heine, Baudelaire, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Kafka, and more.

 

JDS 199SEM, The Origin of Good and Evil:  Introduction to Ethical Questions UB Seminar – Alexander Green

T/TH 9:30am-10:50pm – 708 Clemens Hall

Determining the origin of our moral beliefs and values is one of the central debates that has animated Western philosophers and theologians across time.  Our culture may consider a certain action morally correct and another culture may consider the same action morally incorrect.  Why is that?  How do we know what is good and evil, right and wrong?  Is there one standard that unites different value systems or are all systems equally correct and variable?

 

JDS 264LEC   World Music – Noam Pines

T/TH 2:00pm–3:20pm – Clemens Hall 202

This course follows the careers of Jewish rebels in music, visual art, and literature in their connection to the avant-garde movements in the twentieth century.  We will attempt to determine the appeal of an anit-cultural stance (such as we find in Dada, Beat poetry, and Punk) to people of Jewish heritage.  Discussions will include figures such as Charles Baudelaire, Tristan Tazara, David Bomberg, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Guy Debord, Malcolm McLaren, and more.

 

JDS 301LEC Psychology of Religious Ecstasy: Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll and Religion – Marla Segol

T/TH 3:30pm-4:50pm – 708 Clemens Hall

This course will explore religious ecstasy, cultivated by the ritual use of sexuality, intoxicants, music and trance. These present opportunities for psychically and physically intense experiences, and they can induce transpersonal and ecstatic states, as well as those of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness, sometimes called ‘peak’ and ‘flow’ experiences. We’ll look at how peak and flow experiences are generated by these means, how religious institutions authorize or sanction those practices, and the ways in which they are integrated into religious canons, rituals, and lives.

      

JDS 385LEC/RSP 384SEM  Maimonides: The Guide for the Perplexed – Alexander Green

T/TH 12:30pm-1:50pm – 708 Clemens Hall 

Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed is one of the central philosophical and theological works of the Jewish Middle Ages. It examines the conflict between the Hebrew Bible and Greek philosophy. We will consider topic such as the nature of God and prophecy; the meaning of providence, theodicy and evil; the pursuit of wisdom and human perfection; and how to interpret the Bible. The eminent Maimonides scholar Isadore Twersky observed that “although religious rationalism did not begin with Maimonides, it came to be totally identified with him. Protagonists and antagonists would draw the lines of their positions in relation to Maimonides. To a great extent, subsequent Jewish intellectual history may be seen as a debate concerning the wisdom and effectiveness of the Maimonidean position.” We will attempt to discern Maimonides’ position on the above issues and explore different ways that his thought has been adapted and criticized by medieval and modern interpreters.


 JDS 401SEM/COL 711REC-B/COL 711SEM-A   Modern Streams in Judaism: Messianism and Modernity  – Sergey Dolgolpolski

WED 6:30pm-9:10pm – 640 Clemens Hall

Selected topics in American Jewish history, from colonial to mid-nineteenth century German-Jewish immigration to later East European immigration; formation of American Judaisms; impact of America on Jews and Jews on America. This semester the course focuses on competing notions of Messianism and Messiah and their role in intellectual, ethical, and literary formation of “modernity” in 19 and 20th centuries.

 

JDS 426SEM/PHI579 (#25227)/JDS426 Contemporary Political Philosophy  – Richard Cohen

TUESDAY 4:00pm-6:50 – 141 Park

In the late 20th century, scientific, technical and economic developments have been joined together by blogal financial capitalism, creating  a corporate system – the “administered society” – through the alliance of positivism, instrumentalism, commodification and celebrity, reducing the real to the quantifiable, whether digits or dollars.  This juggernaut has at the same time radically challenged Enlightenment political traditions, breaking the link between politics and democracy.  This seminar will examine several political philosophies critical of such developments, beginning with Marx and Engels, then turning to Georg Lukacs, Rosa Luxemburg, the Frankfurt School, Herbert Marcuse, and Georges Bataille, and concluding with the more recent analyses of situationalism (Guy Debord), Jacques Rancière, and the ongoing Occupy movement.  Can democracy be made viable in the age of global capitalism?

 

 

 

HEBREW COURSE LIST – FALL 2016

HEB 101  Elementary Modern Hebrew 1  –  Lilia Dolgopolskaia

M/W/F – 9:00am-10:25am   –  708 Clemens Hall

The beginning course of Modern Israeli Hebrew.  Essentials of grammar, syntax and conversational practice; elementary reading and writing.  Note:  Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 

 

HEB 201  Intermediate Hebrew 1 (Pre-Requitite:  HEB 102) –  Lilia Dolgopolskaia 

M/W – 11:00am-12:20pm  –  708 Clemens Hall

Further development of language skills:  listening comprehension, oral efficiency, intermediate grammar and syntax, reading and writing.  Note:  Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 

                          

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST – SPRING 2016

JDS 225/PHI 288/RSP 225   Modern Times and Religion –  Richard Cohen

One of the most important developments and challenges of contemporary thought is to unmask and overcome the basic theological dualism and its various articulations –  mind/body, spirit/matter, sin/salvation, idea/reality, freedom/necessity – which have perennially and destructively misled Western (and global) religious thought and life about fundamental questions of meaning and purpose.  To overcome dualism and its prejudices, contemporary philosophy takes seriously human embodiment, time, history, change and language, not as obstacles to truth, but as part and parcel of it.  This course will examine several schools and thinkers determined to liberate the human spirit from the errors of its long past.

T/TH 2:00pm–3:20pm – 708 Clemens Hall

 

JDS 237/HIS 237/RSP 237  History of Israel and Zionism – Daniel Kotzin

This This course will examine the development of the Zionist idea from its ancient and rabbinic origins to its modern political implementation. A particular area of focus will be on the modern Zionist movement, the variety of perspectives on Zionism within the movement, their conflicting visions, and the various ways in which Zionists sought to approach the Arab population. The history of Israeli politics, culture, and society since 1948 will also be a central element of the course.

TU 6:00pm-8:40pm – 708 Clemens Hall

 

JDS 284 Justice in Bibles, Law, and Philosophy – Sergey Dolgolpolski

A comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.

T/TH 11:00am- 12:20pm – 708 Clemens Hall

 

JDS 402/COL 716/LAW761/COL 706: Jewish Law in Development – Sergey Dolgopolski

Historical, sociological, and legal concerns in early and later rabbinic literature; how Jewish life and thought relate to trends in legal interpretation though the centuries.

M 6:30pm – 9:10pm – 640 Clemens Hall

 

PHI556 Topics in History of Philosophy: Spinoza – Richard Cohen

Close reading of Baruch Spinoza’s two major works: Ethics and Theological-Political Treatise,  especially in view of Prof. Cohen’s forthcoming book Out of Control: Confrontations Between Spinoza and Levinas (SUNY Press, 2016).  (Open to senior Jewish Thought majors and minors.)

Tuesday 4:00pm – 6:50pm – 141 Park Hall

HEBREW COURSE LIST – SPRING 2016

HEB 102   Elementary Modern Hebrew 2  –  Lilia Dolgopolskaia

Hebrew 102 is the second part of the Elementary Hebrew course at UB.  This course aims to further present students with the basis of Modern Israeli Hebrew and to assist them in developing the fundamental linguistic skills of Hebrew aural and reading comprehension, conversation and writing in a communicative approach. To supplement the course packet, enrichment activities, ranging from traditional handouts to the use of new digital technology are incorporated in the course.

M/W/F – 9:00am-10:25am   –  708 Clemens Hall

 

HEB 202  Intermediate Hebrew 2  –  Lilia Dolgopolskaia

Hebrew 202 is the second part in the continuation of Intermediate Hebrew at UB.  This course aims to offer students further basis of Modern Israeli Hebrew and to facilitate their communicative and linguistic skills in Hebrew aural comprehension, conversation, reading and writing.  To supplement the course packet, enrichment activities, ranging from traditional handouts to the use of new digital technology are incorporated in the course.

M/W – 11:00am-12:20pm  –  708 Clemens Hall

 

 

 

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST – FALL 2015

JDS 103 – Introduction to Judaism – Sergey Dolgopolski

This course offers a survey of Judaism and the rich Jewish legacy:  Basic philosophical, theological, social and political values and practices of Judaism as they developed over time in a variety of social and political environments.

T/TH 1:00pm-2:20pm – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 207 – Love and the Erotic in Jewish and Western Thought – Alexander Green

This course will explore the phenomenon of love and desire by asking why humans love and what the object of desire is.  What are the different types of love?  Is the content of love rationally explainable or is it something beyond description?  Is love a hopeless ideal or a realistic possibility?  Does society encourage desire or see it as a threat?  To investigate these questions we will begin by comparing Plato’s classic dialogue the Symposium to biblical writings such as the Song of Songs.  We will then ask how the medieval Abrahamic theologians reconceived the biblical God as the paradigm for love, followed by its transformation in modern literature.

T/TH 2:00pm-3:20pm – 110 Capen Hall

JDS 212/COL 275 – Special Topics – Human and Animal – Noam Pines

The course will examine various depictions of human-animal relationship in Western literature and culture, from classical times to modern times.  By looking at these texts, we will chart the emergence of a figure that occupies a borderline state between human and animal, and explore its implications for our understanding of Jewish and Christian relationships as well as human and animal nature.  Readings include:  Ovid, Marie de Frances, Hobbes, Shakespeare, Heine, Baudelaire, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Kafka, and more.

T/TH 11:00am-12:20pm – 640 Clemens

JDS 254 – Interpreting the Old Testament:  the Great Jewish Commentators – Alexander Green

How did Jews interpret the Bible before biblical criticism?  We will examine the different methodologies of classic interpreters such as Rashi, Nachmanides, Ibn Ezra, Gersonides, Arama and Abravanel through the varied approaches of midrash, philosophy, philology and mysticism.  Topics to be discussed through creation, leadership, ethics, sexuality, religious polemics, time, history, and Mosaic authorship.

T/TH 9:30am-10:50am – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 280 – Jewish Mysticism – Marla Segol

What is kabbalah? How does it work? Whose is it anyway?

In this course we will explore Jewish Mysticism from its earliest sources in the Torah and the Talmud to its manifestations on the internet in the present. We’ll focus on the development of its symbols, where they came from, and how they signify. We’ll look at the role that bodies play- how much does it matter what its practitioners do, and how they do it? In that same vein, we’ll look at gender categories, and how they organize thought and action in a kabbalistic cosmos. Finally we’ll consider the notion of authenticity. Who has a right to claim its symbols, its texts, its cosmological models, and its powers as their own? By the end of the course students will be familiar with the core texts in kabbalah, they will have a good grasp of its cosmological models, knowledge of the range of ideas about how the texts work, for whom, and why people think so.

T/TH 11:00am-12:20pm – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 301 – Psychology of Religious Ecstasy:  Sex, drugs, Rock & Roll and Religion – Marla Segol

This course will explore religious ecstasy, cultivated by the ritual use of sexuality, intoxicants, music and trance. These present opportunities for psychically and physically intense experiences, and they can induce transpersonal and ecstatic states, as well as those of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness, sometimes called ‘peak’ and ‘flow’ experiences. We’ll look at how peak and flow experiences are generated by these means, how religious institutions authorize or sanction those practices, and the ways in which they are integrated into religious canons, rituals, and lives.

 T/TH 3:30pm-4:50pm – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 402/COL 724- Jewish Law In Development – Sergey Dolgopolski

Historical, sociological, and legal concerns in early and later rabbinic literature; how Jewish life and thought relate to trends in legal interpretation through the centuries.

Monday 6:30pm – 9:10pm – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 426/COL 721 – Special Topics, Melancholia – Noam Pines

This course will explore the various aspects of melancholia as a poetic and existential condition.  Melancholia will emerge as a mode of poetic inspiration, a secularized perspective on the world, and a form of allegorical knowledge in which human essence is reconciled with nature.  Readings will include:  Baudelaire, Kafka, Benjamin, Kristeva, and more.

Tuesday 5:00pm – 7:40pm – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 455/PHI 589 – Contemporary Philosophy:  Levinas and Ethics – Richard A. Cohen

Emmanuel Levinas developed one of the most important philosophies of the 20th century, based in ethics but responding to all Western thought and spirituality, as well as to historical events such as War and Genocide.  In this seminar we will engage in close reading of selections from his two chief works: Totality and Infinity (1961) and Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (1974), to discover precisely what is original in his thought and how and why it challenges us today.   For instance, given the priority usually accorded to science and knowledge, what does Levinas mean in claim that ethics is first philosophy?  We will also consider Levinas’s proximity and distance from the epistemology of Kant, the phenomenology of Husserl, the ontology of Heidegger, well as other encounters and arguments in philosophy and religion.   

Wednesday 1:00pm – 3:50 pm – 141 Park Hall

HEBREW

HEB 101 – Elementary Modern Hebrew I – Lilia Dolgopolskaia

The beginning course of Modern Israeli Hebrew.  Essentials of grammar, syntax and conversational practice; elementary reading and writing.  Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

M-W 9:00am-10:25am – Location TBA (North Campus)

HEB 201 – Intermediate Hebrew 1 – Lilia Dolgopolskaia

Further development of language skills; listening comprehension, oral efficiency, intermediate grammar and syntax, reading and writing.  Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

M-W 11:00am – 12:20 pm – 708 Clemens Hall

 

 

 

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE LIST – SPRING, 2015

JDS 209  Women in Jewish Literature – Noam Pines

The course will chart the role of women in modern Jewish literature. We will consider portrayals of women in traditional Jewish sources, and focus on the way that Jewish women authors sought to challenge or develop such portrayals in their own writings.

M/W/F 10:00am–10:50am – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 225/PHI 280/RSP 225   Modern Times and Religion –  Richard Cohen
The 19th century Industrial Revolution (steam engine, railroad, mass production) is not yet the 20th century Communications Revolution (phone, radio, movies, TV, computers, internet, Wi-Fi, cell phones, cable). The last thoughts and outlooks of a three thousand year old spiritual-intellectual heritage in the West reach their fruition and open new prospects, such as the spread of democracy, the rise of liberal religion, the growth of metropolitan culture, and the prospect of general prosperity. Seeking these breakthroughs at their sources, we will explore the old and the new in the prose and poetry of Mendelsohn, Hegel, Feuerbach, Schopenhauer, Marx, Melville, Dostoyevsky, Whitman, Comte, Darwin, Bergson, Nietzsche and Freud, among others.
T/TH 12:00pm–1:50pm – 708 Clemens Hall

 JDS 253/RSP 253 Jewish, Christian, Islamic Ethics – Alexander Green

How similar is Jewish, Christian and Islamic thought? Do they share a common ethics? This course will examine some central thinkers and works within each tradition, while comparing and contrasting different perspectives on God, the prophet, sacred texts, ethics, free will and tolerance for those of other faiths.

T/TH 2:00pm-3:20pm – 708 Clemens Hall

 

JDS 255/RSP 255  Jewish Folklore and Magic – Marla Segol

Reading and writing are powerful in Judaism. Writing is a divine act in the Jewish story of the writing of the Torah, and when humans write, we both imitate divine power and evoke it. So too, are the acts of reading and storytelling. In medieval Judaism, the act of reading is one of uncovering and participating in divine power and knowledge, while storytelling performs this power. This course is an exploration of medieval Hebrew writing with a focus on medieval Jewish conceptions of storytelling, reading, writing, and performance.

T/TH 11:00am- 12:20pm – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 264/COL275 World Music – Noam Pines

The course will follow the careers of Jewish rebels in music, visual art, and literature in the twentieth century.  We will attempt to determine the appeal of an anti-cultural stance (such as we find in Dada, Beat poetry, and Punk) to people of Jewish heritage.  Discussions will include figures such as Tristan Tzara, David Bomberg, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Lou Reed, The Ramones, Martin Rev and Alan Vega and more.

Please note:  This course has been advertised as “Punk Jews, Rebellion and Pop Culture.”

M/W/F 2:00pm-2:50pm – 708 Clemens Hall

 

JDS 284 Justice in Bibles, Law, and Philosophy – Sergey Dolgolpolski

A comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.

T/TH 11:00am- 12:20pm – 110 Capen Hall

  

JDS 286/RSP 286 Prayer and Altered States – Marla Segol

What is prayer and how does it work? How is it related to meditation and song? This course explores the phenomenology of prayer, meditation and religious music, their ritual function, and their effects on the brain, on personality, and community. We focus on Jewish sources, placing them in historical context and comparing them to those of other religions such as Hinduism and Christianity.

T/Th 3:30pm-4:50pm – 708 Clemens Hall

JDS 396/RSP 396 Religion and Science in Jewish Thought – Alexander Green

What is the relationship between science and religion? Is science true and religion merely a myth? We will examine this question through an examination of the writings of classical, medieval and modern Jewish thinkers. This course is both for science and humanities students.

T/TH 9:30am-10:50am – 708 Clemens Hall

 

JDS 402/COL 716 Jewish Law in Development – Sergey Dolgopolski

Historical, sociological, and legal concerns in early and later rabbinic literature; how Jewish life and thought relate to trends in legal interpretation though the centuries.

TH 12:30pm-3:10pm – 640 Clemens Hall

 

HEB 102   Elementary Modern Hebrew 2  –  Lilia Dolgopolskaia

Hebrew 102 is the second part of the Elementary Hebrew course at UB.  This course aims to further present students with the basis of Modern Israeli Hebrew and to assist them in developing the fundamental linguistic skills of Hebrew aural and reading comprehension, conversation and writing in a communicative approach. To supplement the course packet, enrichment activities, ranging from traditional handouts to the use of new digital technology are incorporated in the course.

M/W/F – 9:00am-10:25am   –  109 Baldy Hall

 

HEB 202  Intermediate Hebrew 2  –  Lilia Dolgopolskaia

Hebrew 202 is the second part in the continuation of Intermediate Hebrew at UB.  This course aims to offer students further basis of Modern Israeli Hebrew and to facilitate their communicative and linguistic skills in Hebrew aural comprehension, conversation, reading and writing.  To supplement the course packet, enrichment activities, ranging from traditional handouts to the use of new digital technology are incorporated in the course.

M/W – 11:00am-12:20pm  –  708 Clemens Hall

 

 

 

 

 

JEWISH THOUGHT COURSE  LIST – FALL 2014

 

NOTE: All Jewish Studies courses satisfy the GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENT with the exception of Hebrew Language courses

 

Course #19998

JDS 103 (RSP 203) Introduction to Judaism Richard Cohen

WED.   11:00 AM -1:40 PM

Clemens 708

Judaism is one of the oldest continuously practiced world religions; its influence is inestimable.  One need only think of the profound impact it has had on the origins, development, and basic elements of Christianity and Islam. Because Judaism has evolved and changed over a very long history – including the eras of the Hebrew Bible, the ancient Israelite commonwealth, medieval Talmudic-rabbinical communities, modern denominations, the Holocaust, Zionism and modern Israel – this course will approach Jewish history, theory and practice together.  We will ask: What have Jews believed and done?  What do Jews now believe?  What are the meanings of Judaism – texts, rituals, practices, beliefs – for Jews?  How is Judaism similar and different from other spiritual traditions?  What relevance does Judaism still have for the larger world?

Course #TBD

JDS 111: Great Jewish Books: Arguing with God – Sergey Dolgopolski

T/TH   12:30-1:50 PM

LOCATION: TBD

What makes a human argue with G-d? How and in what settings dies such an argument go? What if G-d no longer directly responds? Using Jewish traditions as a case study, this course will use a comparative perspective to explore these questions through reading a selection from religious, secular, and philosophical texts from Biblical interpreters in late antiquity, to post-Holocaust thinkers, both religious and secular, such as the Bible, Talmud, Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed, and Hasidic Masters of Modern Times.

Course #23801

JDS 204: Introduction to Jewish Ethics – Alexander Green

T/TH   2:00-3:20 PM

Clemens 708

This course will trace the history of Jewish ethics and study the evolving nature of some of its central tenets. The challenge of defining the nature of Jewish ethics goes back to the ambiguities in the Hebrew Bible itself. Is ethics completely dependent on the authority of God or is there also an ethics that is independent of God’s law or will? Is the ethics of Jewish tradition only applicable to Jews or also to non-Jews as well? If applicable to non-Jews as well, is there anything that differentiates “Jewish” ethics? Is law the true form of ethics or is legal ethics a means towards external goals? In the first half of the course, we will analyze how medieval and modern Jewish thinkers have defined Jewish ethics utilizing the tools of Western philosophy to answer many of these questions. We will look at two important models: virtue ethics and (universal) deontological ethics through the writings of Maimonides and Hermann Cohen and examine the extent to which these thinkers adapted the thought of Aristotle and Immanuel Kant and applied them to the ethics of the Jewish tradition. In the second half of the course, we will examine contemporary ethical issues such as war and peace, feminism, abortion, economics and charity, and the environment.

Course # TBD

JDS 210: Introduction to Hebrew Bible – Alexander Green

T/TH 9:30-10:50 AM

Clemens 708

 

The Hebrew Bible is one of the central texts of Western Civilization. It arose from a nation known as the Israelites that claimed no international power or empire in comparison to the surrounding empires of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Babylon. Why did the small world of the Israelites survive and have such a long term impact? This course reads the Hebrew Bible as an anthology of writings written over an extensive period of time responding to various issues, but all engaged with explaining the nature of a covenantal God. We will be reading the texts through the lens of the Jewish rabbinic tradition with the assistance of ancient, medieval and modern interpreters. We will engage issues such as creation, desire, wisdom, civilization, sacrifice, family, deception, law, revelation, sin, conquest, kingship, prophecy, destruction, exile, skepticism, love and tragedy.

 

 

Course # TBD

JDS 225: Modern Jewish Thought: Jews in Times of Revolution – Noam Pines

M/W/F  10:00-10:50 AM

Clemens 708

The course will explore the diverse roles of Jews in cultural, scientific, and political revolutions during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These revolutionary moments provided unprecedented opportunities for Jews who sought to break free from the confines of their traditional culture and religion and find a place for themselves in the wider European society, as well as for those who despaired of the prospect of emancipation and opted to partake in the Zionist project. We will consider the individual motivations of Jewish intellectuals, poets, visionaries, politicians, and artists, and examine the various contexts in which they worked: cultural, political, biographical, as well as religious. Readings and discussions will include figures such as Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Theodor Herzl, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Marc Chagall, Rosa Luxemburg, Leo Trotsky, David Ben Gurion, Paul Celan, Allen Ginsberg, and Jacques Derrida.

Course #21697

JDS 229: Medieval Judaism – Marla Segol

T/TH   11:00 AM – 12:20 PM

Clemens 708

In this course we will study Jewish culture in the medieval period. This materials we study will tell the story of the shifting centers of medieval Jewish culture from the rabbinic period to early modernity, and from Babylonia to Spain, to points east and the new world. We will focus on major forms of cultural expression; Jewish philosophy, Hebrew fiction, medieval cookbooks, travel narratives, mystical and magical works, social histories, and personal letters. We will use these sources to better understand the development of Jewish culture in dialogue with ancient Jewish culture on one hand, and with Islam and Christianity on the other.

Course # TBD

JDS 237 History of Israel and Zionism: Zionism and Prophecy- Noam Pines

M/W/F 2:00-2:50 PM

Clemens 708

This course will chart the development of a prophetic persona in Hebrew literature in relation to the Zionist project, from the writers of the Haskala to the poetry of the Statehood Generation in Israel. The link between Zionism and prophecy was established in the nineteenth century in the writings of Isaac Erter and Abraham Mapu, and toward the turn of the century developed into conflicting visions of Zionism by prominent “prophetic” figures such as Theodor Herzl and Ahad Ha’am. In Hebrew literature, the prophetic persona appears fully-fledged in the poetry of Chaim Nachman Bialik and Saul Tshernichowsky, and the genre of prophetic poetry attained popularity in Palestine in the period between the two world wars, often in direct correlation to the Zionist project. We will reflect upon the specific attributes of the genre of prophetic Zionist literature, follow the critical debates on its merits and shortcomings, chart its rise and fall, and consider it within the historical, literary, biographical, and theological contexts from which it emerged.

 

Course #23813

JDS 301 (GGS 376): Psychology of Religious Ecstasy: Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll and Religion – Marla Segol

T/TH   3:30- 4:50 PM

Clemens 708

This course will explore sexuality and ecstasy in religion, the ritual use of intoxicants, and music and trance in religious life. These present opportunities for psychically and physically intense experiences, and they can induce transpersonal and ecstatic states, as well as those of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness, sometimes called ‘peak’ and ‘flow’ experiences. We’ll look at how peak and flow experiences are generated by these means, how religious institutions authorize or sanction those practices, and the ways in which they are integrated into religious canons, rituals, and lives.

 

 

 Course #23795

JDS 402: Jewish Law in Development – Sergey Dolgopolski

MON.  6:30 – 9:10 PM

Clemens 202

This course explores Jewish legal and narrative literature from late antiquity to modernity in the broader context of Western legal thought. It also addresses methodological and theoretical questions of rabbinic as a discipline studying this corpus of literature. No knowledge of Hebrew or Aramaic language is required. For students with advanced knowledge in Hebrew and or Aramaic languages a companion reading course might be available upon approval of the instructor for additional 3 credit points.

JDS 499: Independent Study

Need Professor’s Permission for Independent Study

Course #19893

HEB 101: Elementary Modern Hebrew – Lilia Dolgopolskaia

M/W/F   9:00 – 10:25 AM

Filmore 325

A beginning course in modern Israeli Hebrew.  Essentials of grammar, syntax and conversational practice; elementary reading and writing.  Note:  Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

 

Course #17783

HEB 201: Intermediate Hebrew  – Lilia Dolgopolskaia

M/W  11:00 AM – 12:20 PM

Filmore 325

 

Further development of language skills:  listening comprehension, oral efficiency, Intermediate grammar and syntax, reading and writing.

*Note:  Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

*Prerequisite:  HEBREW 102 or permission of the instructor.